Great reads + Barnes & Noble: the not-so-hidden gem of fantastic

You walk through the doors, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Ahh that sweet, sweet smell. Nope, not the Starbucks conveniently located within, it’s the smell of fresh paper and new books. Maybe there’s something else, some other smell they’re pumping through the air ducts but ooooh Barnes & Noble I love the way you smell.

Who doesn’t love a good book? Whether it’s an audio book or otherwise, there is something so satisfying about getting swept away in a great story. There are plenty of wonderful used book stores out there but lately Barnes & Noble has been an almost weekly outing for me and the kid. For the past six weeks or so Friday nights have been a “wings and beer night” for my husband, his brothers and their significant others. Stella and I usually don’t go, mainly because I don’t think their food is very good but it’s also always packed and more often than not something gets screwed up, whether its someone’s order or their check. So here we go to Barnes & Noble for a wild Friday night. It’s a two-fold trip: I get to browse around for something fun to dive into and build my book wish list and it’s free entertainment for the kiddo. My two year old absolutely loves going there; they have a wonderful – not to mention expansive – kids section in the back. She enjoys the books but after all she is two, so that takes a backseat to the train table and soft and colorful chairs. One evening we spent almost 2 hours there and I had to carry her out – walking wasn’t an option because she didn’t want to leave. I’m telling you, if it’s a yucky day out and you’re getting a little cabin fever or you’ve just run out of ideas on the weekend take your tot to Barnes & Noble, it is by far some of the best free entertainment around. I know. But Lauren, why don’t you just take your kid to the local library? It would be great if the local libraries had something in the late afternoon for kids, unfortunately their story time and other activities usually occur mid-day during the week so what’s a working parent to do? I’m telling you, Barnes & Noble is a great outing. I can’t speak for older kids because I don’t have them but for a toddler it’s definitely a winner.

Now on to the next topic: good reads. 

I tend to get attached to characters so I love a good series and when I find one that I really enjoy (ahem, Harry Potter) I will read the entire series multiple times. I personally haven’t found anything of particular interest in the non-fiction category but hey, to each their own. I gravitate toward adventure, fantasy and the more “weird” stuff out there. We have a pretty decent collection of books in our home but we’re also building quite the library on audible as well. A friend of ours introduced us to audible about a year and a half ago and it has been great! With my job I don’t have a lot of face-to-face interaction with people, almost everything is done via email and I can very easily listen to a book and get my job done so audible has been a lifesaver. No one wants to sit at a computer in silence for 40 hours per week … or at least I don’t, I would lose my mind, I can’t take that much silence. The first book my husband and I ever listened to was during our move from Virginia to Florida back in August 2017, American Gods by Neil Gaiman. That book set a pretty high bar for audio books for us, full cast narration and just an all around great story. Gaiman has a lot of good reads out there, each wonderfully weird in it’s own way. And speaking of a full cast narration, the narrator is a key component to an audio book; I have stopped books mid-way due to poor and/or lackluster narration. Then again there are some books that just don’t translate well in audio format. Recently I listened to the audible version of The Atlantis Gene (book 1 in a series of 3) by A.G. Riddle and really enjoyed it, however, the second book was a little more difficult in audio format. For the second and third books in that series I need the physical book rather than audio.

Depending on your preferred genre(s) I may have some good ideas for you. As I stated before I tend to gravitate towards adventure, fantasy, action, thriller type books and if you have all of that rolled into one … then wow I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot, which I did with a series by Richard Kadrey. The Sandman Slim series is absolutely fantastic. I don’t have any of the physical copies, though I do plan to add them to my collection, I have listened to all of the books in the series on audible and the narrator MacLeod Andrews is by far the best I’ve ever heard. My husband and I both love the stories and the characters. There are currently 10 books in the series and we’re eagerly awaiting number 11. There are also rumors that the director of John Wick is planning to make it into a film. I love the books and will read every single one that Kadrey puts out but I’m also excited to see it translated to the screen. That being said, with so many wonderful adventures published I wish someone like Showtime or HBO would turn it into a series. What else am I supposed to watch once Game of Thrones comes to an end?

I could go on and on about several of the books I’ve read and listened to over the past year and a half but I’ve got stuff to do so I’ll give you a list.

  • Murder Games, James Patterson (currently reading)
  • The Atlantis Gene, A.G. Riddle
  • The Sandman Slim Series, Richard Kadrey
    • Sandman Slim
    • Kill The Dead
    • Aloha from Hell
    • Devil Said Bang
    • Kill City Blues
    • The Getaway God
    • Killing Pretty
    • The Perdition Score
    • The Kill Society
    • Hollywood Dead
  • The Everything Box, Richard Kadrey
  • The Wrong Dead Guy, Richard Kadrey
  • The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
  • Barsoom Series Collection, Edgar Rice Burroughs
    • A Prince of Mars
    • The Gods of Mars
    • The Warlord of Mars
    • Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    • The Chessman of Mars
    • The Master Mind of Mars
    • Yellow Men of Mars
  • The Robert Langdon Collection, Dan Brown
    • Angels & Demons
    • The Da Vinci Code
    • The Lost Symbol
    • Inferno
    • Origin
  • Artemis, Andy Weir
  • Paradox Bound, Peter Clines
  • 14, Peter Clines
  • The Fold, Peter Clines
  • Dark Matter, Blake Crouch
  • The Ex-Heroes Series, Peter Clines
    • Ex-Heroes
    • Ex-Patriots
    • Ex-Communication
    • Ex-Purgatory
    • Ex-Isle
  • American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  • Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
  • Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series, Ransom Riggs
    • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
    • Hollow City
    • Library of Souls
  • Digital Fortress, Dan Brown

HAPPY READING TO ALL!
If you have any suggestions please comment!

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